CHARLOTTE, N.C. Joey Harrington took the hit. Alge Crumpler did the rest.
Just before he was drilled to the turf, Harrington found Crumpler over the middle for a 30-yard touchdown with 20 seconds left to give the Atlanta Falcons a 20-13 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Crumpler, who returned after missing the previous two games with ankle and knee injuries, caught the short pass over the middle and sliced between safeties Chris Harris and Quinton Teal for the score. Harrington watched from his back after being hit by Thomas Davis, then limped off the field as the Falcons (3-6) won their second straight game.
The late score ruined the return of 43-year-old Vinny Testaverde, who limped around despite a sore right Achilles' tendon, but couldn't lead the Panthers (4-5) to the end zone. Their lone touchdown came on Ken Lucas' 27-yard fumble return as they lost their third straight and their sixth straight at home.
Testaverde did lead the Panthers on a late drive that led to John Kasay's 31-yard field goal with 3:35 left to tie it. Later the Falcons got the ball at the Panthers 45 after Adam Jennings' 23-yard punt return to set up the winning score.
It was the lone touchdown for Harrington, who completed 19 of 26 passes for 192 yards. Warrick Dunn rushed for 89 yards, 47-year-old Morten Anderson kicked two field goals and the Falcons' defense turned in their second straight strong performance to avenge a home loss to Carolina in Week 3.
It was especially sweet for DeAngelo Hall. The cornerback who was called for 63 yards worth of penalties, including two personal fouls while jawing with Steve Smith, prevented a TD on Carolina's best scoring chance.
Trailing 7-0, the Panthers went for it on fourth-and-inches from the Atlanta 20 early in the second quarter. Testaverde lofted a pass to the sideline and Smith made a leaping catch over Hall. But as Smith was trying to get to the end zone, Hall knocked the ball away. It rolled into the end zone and then squirted out of bounds for a touchback.
Testaverde was just 13-of-28 for 153 yards. Matt Moore came in on the final play to throw for the end zone, but was intercepted to finish off another frustrating day for Carolina, which has used four quarterbacks this season.
The Panthers were uncertain if Testaverde or Moore would start until close to kickoff, when Testaverde's sore right Achilles' tendon responded well enough in pregame warmups to play.
Testaverde, who turns 44 on Tuesday, was the Panthers' best option with Jake Delhomme (elbow surgery) and David Carr (concussion) watching from the sideline in blue knit hats.
After Testaverde and the Panthers punted after three running plays to start the game, Harrington quickly led the Falcons on a 70-yard touchdown drive, capped by Dunn's 30-yard run up the middle. It was the longest run of the season for the 32-year-old Dunn, who had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season last week against San Francisco.
Testaverde looked to have difficulty moving around, and the Panthers sloshed through the first three quarters, with their only touchdown coming from the defense.
Rookie receiver Laurent Robinson, starting ahead of Joe Horn (hamstring), had the ball ripped away by Chris Harris, his fourth forced fumble of the season. Cornerback Ken Lucas scooped up the ball and bolted 27 yards for the tying touchdown.